Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) have sponsored new federal legislation,The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act,that would require the labeling of all GE foods;the first labeling bill to be introduced in the Senate in over a decade!
Center for Food Safety has filed a formal legal petition with FDA demanding that the agency require the labeling of GE foods and is spearheading a drive with the Just Label It Campaign to direct one million comments to the FDA in support of our petition.
Sign the petition here
Or send your comments directly to the FDA:Read more Tell the FDA that you support Labeling of GE Foods! …
On December 21,2012,the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an Environmental Assessment (EA) with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon. The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition.
Public Comment period ends February 23. Click here to submit your comment to the FDA
Read more GE salmon update –Time for Comments! …
All hail chocolate!
For those of us who missed celebrating the actual Chocolate Day this past Sunday,October 28th –today is a great opportunity to do so! Indulge your love for chocolate with elegant and nutritious bars and nearly endless flavor combinations. With so many wonderful chocolates on sale here at the Co-op,there’s bound to be something for every mood and personality. Our vast and thoughtful chocolate selection includes many wonderful organic and fair trade options. A few recommendations to stoke the fire of your love for chocolate:Read more Happy Belated Chocolate Day! …
We’ve been having conversations about GMOs lately, with controversial studies in the news and initiatives on the ballot,our co-op staff are getting informed about the widespread risks and consequences of industrial scale GE agribusiness, as well as more details on the ballot measure initiatives in CA and WA, among other states,which call for the mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients.
Here are a few recent articles from the news lately:
* The Stanford Study released this fall that claims no added nutritive benefits to organic food - or the NYTimes’take on the situation or the LA Times article on the fallout from the study.
* The contentious study released in September by European scientists, studying rats fed GMO feed throughout the duration of their lifetime -
* PCC’s $100,00 contribution to support GMO labelling -
* A new study from WSU academic looking at weed resistance to the herbicides sprayed on many GMO crops -
* And here’s the press release we just sent to our local papers…Read more Labeling GMOs …
Tuesdays in October are movie nights on the 3rd floor. October is “Everything Month”–the month when we talk Ethics and Politics in our food and shopping choices. We’ve lined up the Globalization Trilogy from Teddy Bear Films to help highlight WHY we need to keep talking about the consequences of globalization.
12 years in the making,the Globalization Trilogy features memorable characters,compelling stories and stunning cinematography. The films have enjoyed wide distribution in the U.S. and abroad, both on television and theatrically, winning 18 international awards,airing on over 30 channels and screening in more than 100 film festivals. They are often used in schools, and by NGOs and community groups.
Each film explores a deeper layer of the production-consumption chain. Store Wars:When Wal-Mart Comes to Town focuses on consumption in the U.S. China Blue investigates the manufacturing of the clothes we all consume. Bitter Seeds looks at the raw materials;it goes to India and follows the farmers growing the cotton exported to China’s garment factories to be used for the clothes sold in the West.
We’ll finish up Co-op month with a look at another way of doing business:the brand new documentary Shift Change,which looks at employee-owned cooperatives around the world. The film’co-producer,Tony Harrah,will join us for some discussion after the film.
October movies (and popcorn!) are free and there will be time for Q&A after each film.
Thanks to Nation of Change for this information:
“Here’s your chance to tell the USDA (your concerns with GMO crops). The first two crops on this list have been on the old,slower-track approval process,which allows 60 days for the public to comment. The remaining four are new additions but are on the fast track,meaning we still only have until September 11th of 2012 to have our say before these seeds hit the soil and,maybe,your dinner table.”
6 New GMO Crops to Act Against
- Dow 2,4-D and Glufosinate Tolerant Soybean - Since the US first began using GM crops,our herbicide usage has been boosted by 300 million pounds,despite claims by biotech behemoths that other plants like weeds would not grow resistant to glyphosate – commonly known as RoundUp. And now,we have “superweeds.” Of course,biotech (and seemingly the USDA) doesn’t care,and they plan on adding the 2,4-D herbicide and dicamba (see number 4) to the list. Take action here.
- Syngenta Corn Rootworm Resistant Corn - Plenty of nations have banned Syngenta’s GM Bt crops—but not the US. This type of corn produces its own pesticides and kills all bugs,good or bad,which also means livestock can get sick from eating it. Research says that 80% of pregnant women have Bt toxins in their blood. Take action here.
- Okanagan Non-Browning Apple - Conventional apples are covered in pesticides. That’s why we buy organic,but Okanagan has produced the first GM apple. Take action against genetically modified apples right here.
- Monsanto Dicamba Tolerant Soybean - Take action here.
- Dow 2,4-D,Dlyphosate and Glufosinate Tolerant Soybean - Take action here.
- Genective Glyphosate Tolerant Corn
By Elizabeth Renter,Natural Society
29 July 12
Genetically modified foods have been shown to cause harm to humans,animals,and the environmental,and despite growing opposition,more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. It’s important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult,and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer. If produce is certified USDA-organic,it’s non-GMO Read more Top 10 GMO Foods to Avoid …
The bad news comes first here,but there is good news too!
Content courtesy of the Organic Consumers Association
The Senate Has Voted…
…Against GMO Labels
The vote was 26 in favor of GMO labels,73 opposed. Click here to find out how your Senators voted. More info on this Senate vote next week!
…For Corporate Welfare for Insurance Companies,Not Food Stamps for Hungry Kids
An amendment by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand,Democrat of New York,would have cut the amount paid to insurance companies to subsidize their costs in selling crop insurance. Last year,the government paid insurance companies $1.3 billion,and Ms. Gillibrand’s amendment would have reduced that amount to offset a $4.5 billion cut to the food stamp program. But the Senate rejected the amendment,66 to 33.
Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.
…To Support Rural Development –the “Agriculture Reform,Food and Jobs Act”Will Invest in Jobs,After All!
$150 million in critical funding for rural economic development and new farmer programs was restored through an amendment introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
That’s $35 million for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program,the keystone new farmer program Read more This Week’s Farm Bill Votes …
The FDA and Congress are considering the approval of GE salmon (the first GE animal allowed for human consumption in the US). The end result is a fish that grows to market size in 16-18 months instead of the typical 3 years of a wild salmon. They are seeking approval through a process that was developed for new animal drugs,rather than developing a method of evaluation better suited to the product. FDA doesn’t do its own testing of GE animals,they rely on information provided by the company waiting for approval.Here’s the link to an online petition hosted by Food &Water Watch asking WA Senators and Reps to support and co-sponsor S230 and HR 521 and ban GE salmon.
Here’s where the link takes you –to this letter to our representatives –please visit the link,add your own thoughts,and “sign”:
“Thank you for taking a stand by co-sponsoring the bill to ban genetically engineered salmon.
As you know,despite an outpouring of concern over the risks to human health,wild fish populations and the environment by both consumers and scientists,the FDA has not reached a decision.
Approving the first genetically engineered animal slated for human consumption without proper rigorous scientific review is a serious threat that cannot be ignored. This bill is a much needed step forward in order to protect consumers and the environment,and I appreciate your backing it.
I urge you to keep working to move this legislation forward.
Thank you,again,for co-sponsoring this legislation.”
Two GE Labeling bills need your support- please contact your state legislators on Friday January 27th!
Doing the Devil’s bidding;One of Monsanto’s little helpers
We have the power! Let’s stop sending our dollars to these corporations!
Land O’Lakes is LOL (laughing out loud)
Posted by:“Tim Koegel” email@example.com
Mon Feb 14,2011 12:23 pm (PST)
This is a short piece that I wrote and am distributing. Feel free to use/distribute.
Land O’Lakes has not received the attention they deserve. Shouldn’t we try
to remedy that?
Doing the Devil’s bidding;One of Monsanto’s little helpers
By Tim Koegel www.organicpasturedpoultry.com
Long before now,everyone in the organic community as well as most of
the conventional community,has become thoroughly familiar with RoundUp
Ready Alfalfa (RRA). Of course there have been countless outcries against
Monsanto,and it has been Monsanto’s name in virtually every print and web
article as well as radio and TV show. But if Monsanto is the devil as many
would say,then there has been little if any mention of those doing the
devil’s bidding here,in this case that disciple being Forage Genetics
International (FGI). FGI is a wholly (or rather “unholy”) owned subsidiary
of Land O’Lakes. While Monsanto owns the patented RoundUp Ready (RR) gene,
FGI is the developer of RR Alfalfa and licenses the patents to do so from
Many have asked,“Why the big deal now? After all this is only one more
in the string of GMOs.”Perhaps one of the most significant points in this
case is that genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa is the first perennial GMO.
It can cross breed with wild alfalfa and provide a rogue GE gene pool,
greatly increasing the probability that eventually all alfalfa will become
contaminated. Alfalfa is also considered “insectary”due to the large number
of insects it attracts,which will also accelerate the genetic
contamination. If GMO alfalfa follows the same path as GMO soy and corn,
then within 15 years we should expect to see 80-90% of the 21 million acres
currently planted in alfalfa to be of a GE variety. This means a serious
challenge to producing organic alfalfa,vital for organic dairy. It also
means a substantially increased environmental human exposure to the
herbicide RoundUp,a known endocrine disrupter.
Plant pathologist Don Huber,PhD,professor emeritus of Purdue
University,says the repercussions of introducing Roundup Ready technology
to another crop,like alfalfa,could be disastrous. “If indications hold
true,we’re set up for the greatest disaster that this country or the world
has ever seen,that will dwarf any major famine or drought that has ever
been recorded,”says Huber.
Should consumers choose to take their own action against this assault
on human health,we wanted to point out some of the Land O’Lakes brand
names &licensees so that you can contact them and tell them what you think
about their grand “little”experiment on mankind. Here are a few of the most
well known names:
- (800) 328-9680
Purina Mills (Livestock feeds)
- (800) 227-8941
Dean Foods (Owner of Horizon Organics) packaging LOL products under license
- (214) 303-3400
- Dean Foods Consumer Response P.O. Box 961447 El Paso,TX 79996
White Wave (Owned by Dean foods) packaging LOL products under license
- Land O’Lakes products:800-878-9762
Alpine Lace (Lowfat cheese products)
Of course you could also contact Forage Genetics directly at:
- Forage Genetics International,P.O. Box 339 Nampa,ID 83653-0339
- (800) 635-5701 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark McCaslin,PhD,President - email@example.com
If consumers let these food giants know that they will NOT buy their
poisons,they WILL have no choice but to eventually listen.
click here <http://www.windyridgepoultry.com/gmo_alflafa1.pdf>to get this
file in a PDF
GE Salmon,coming soon?
Nearly 400,000 people sent letters to the FDA during their comment period in October,asking for mandatory labeling of AquaBounty’s GE salmon,at the very least. You can visit the Center for Food Safety for more information and quick links to action steps. This is precedent-setting time for how we as a country handle GE animals
This is excerpted from an article by Jill Richardson which appeared in Grist Magazine on September 20th 2010
“We’re about to enter a brave new world in which transgenic,or genetically engineered (GE,as they are more commonly known),food animals may soon be appearing on our plates. An FDA special committee is meeting right now to determine whether a GE fish —AquAdvantage salmon,genetically engineered by AquaBounty Technologies to reach mature size more quickly,thanks to genes from the Chinook salmon and from the eel-like ocean pout —is safe for human consumption. The approval process for the GE salmon will set a precedent for all future GE animals;if the FDA does not set the bar high for solid science,it will mean a lack of scrutiny for other,perhaps less safe,GE animals in the future.
Unfortunately,the FDA appears poised to rubber-stamp the AquAdvantage salmon. After working with AquaBounty since the mid-1990s on the application for the GE salmon,the FDA has only just recently released 255 pages of technical information —and then allowed a mere 14 days for the public to comment on it. And there is something decidedly fishy about the makeup of the committee chosen to weigh the scientific risk assessments. One might say that the scales are heavily weighted in favor of pro-biotech interests.
The FDA is regulating the GE salmon as a “New Animal Drug,”in agency terminology,and it is thus being evaluated by a special Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) meeting today and yesterday. Consumers Union,the nonprofit watchdog group and publisher of Consumer Reports,has written a letter to the FDA and formally submitted comments protesting aspects of this approval process,from the shortened time frame,committee makeup,and data rigor (or lack of it). In the latest twist, the GE salmon data was taken from a small sample of fish raised in a facility in Prince Edward Island,whereas AquaBounty actually plans to raise the fish in Panama;thus,approving the fish based on the current data actually represents a violation of the law.
…Consumers Union in its letter recommends adding “three fish ecologists,four food safety experts (including specialists in food allergies and in the effects of hormones on human health),and scientists from the consumer and environmental community …to the Committee,to provide appropriate balance and expertise.”
Consumers Union also has many concerns about the safety of the fish,specifically increased allergenicity:
Because FDA’s assessment is inadequate,we are particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of [severe],even life-threatening allergic reactions to sensitive individuals. Instead of approving this product,FDA should be requiring studies with data from many more engineered fish,not the tiny sample of six fish [emphasis added] on which it currently bases its conclusions.
Consumers Union is also concerned about the lack of data on fish raised at the Panama facility where the GE salmon,if approved,will be raised. The data used in the FDA assessment of the GE salmon’s safety was all taken from fish raised at a facility in Prince Edward Island. The FDA itself acknowledges that “the culture (e.g.,water temperature,pH,alkalinity,etc.) were likely to be significantly different from the facility at PEI as a result of differences in,among others,water surface,facility design,and environmental factors due to geographic location. . . . the effect of the difference between the PEI and Panama facilities,especially temperature,on the resulting AquAdvantage phenotype is unknown.”
Consumers Union notes that this is a legal violation,based on the law the FDA is using to regulate the GE salmon:
FDA is regulating the GE salmon as a New Animal Drug,with the NAD being the genetic (e.g. rDNA) construct itself. Thus,the husbandry and rearing conditions of GE fish into which the genetic construct has been inserted would constitute the production process. Under the NAD provisions of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA),a NAD is granted for a specific production process;if a company changes the production process for a NAD,the company must submit data to the FDA to show that such a change does not have an effect on the safety or efficacy of the NAD,i.e. the FDA does not assume that drugs made with different production processes are equivalent and requires data to show they are equivalent. Since the husbandry/rearing conditions differ between Panama and PEI —the former being in the tropics,the latter in the temperate zone —this means that the production process (e.g. husbandry/rearing conditions) differs as well,and FDA should require Aqua Bounty to submit data showing that it does not impact the safety of the NAD. FDA should insist,for example,that the rearing conditions in Panama do not increase the levels or potency of allergenic proteins in the salmon.
Requiring new data would,of course,slow down what has all of a sudden become a mad rush to approve an entirely new product.
Why is the FDA accepting such sloppy science,flouting its own regulations,giving the public nearly no time to weigh in,and packing its committee full of biotech hacks who will not ask the tough questions necessary to ensure the AquAdvantage salmon is safe before it winds up (unlabeled,the Washington Post reports) on our plates?”
Buying products enrolled and verified by the Non-GMO Project is one of the ways to support sustained availability of Non-GMO choices in the U.S. and Canada. Verification means that a product has been produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance,including testing of at-risk ingredients. It is not a guarentee that a product is 100% GMO-Free.
For a list of Non-GMO Verified products and companies enrolled in the Non-GMO Project,please visit www.nongmoproject.org,pick up a pamphlet in our store,or download a .pdf of the pamphlet here.
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are organisms that have been developed through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology. This technique allows genetic material from one species to be crossed with another species,creating plant and animal combinations that could not occur in nature or through natural cross-breeding.
Australia,Japan,and the European Union have banned or restricted the production of GMOs because they have not yet proven safe. In the U.S.,such restrictions don’t exist except in the certification of organic foods. However,even some certified organic crops have been compromised by unintended cross-contamination.
In the U.S.,GMOs are becoming more common. According to the U.S.D.A.,in 2007 91% of soy,87% of cotton,and 73% of the corn grown in the U.S. were genetically modified. Canola,sugar beets,crookneck squash,and Hawaiian papaya are also high on the list. As a result,it is estimated that about 80% of packaged products (including food,cosmetics,and household goods) contain GMOs.
The best way to ensure that you are not purchasing GMOs is to buy Certified Organic foods or products that have been Non-GMO Verified. Look for packaging labels identifying these items,or visit the Non-GMO Project to view a list of vendors committed to Non-GMO.
For more information on this subject,visit these websites:
*synopsis derived from www.nongmoproject.org
October is Non-GMO Month
As Concerns about Food Safety and GMOs Intensify,Retailers Launch First National Non-GMO Month
UPLAND,CA (September 10th,2010)—This October,more than 580 natural food stores nationwide will take part in the first ever Non-GMO Month,celebrating consumers’ right to choose food and products that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organized by the non-profit Non-GMO Project,the event coincides with the launch of the “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal on retail products.
The process of genetic modification,which takes place in a laboratory,typically merges DNA from different species,creating combinations of plant,animal,bacteria and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Virtually all commercial GMOs are bred to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. None of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increase yield,drought tolerance,enhanced nutrition,or any other consumer benefit.
Studies,meanwhile,increasingly show a correlation between consumption of GMOs and an array of health risks. With U.S. consumer confidence shaken by ongoing food safety failures,distrust of GMOs is growing. As a result,more and more consumers are seeking non-GMO choices,and Nielson reported in February of this year that “GMO-free” is now the fastest growing store brand label claim.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that GMOs currently are in approximately 80% of conventional processed foods in the United States,but they are not labeled. This is in sharp contrast to most other developed nations around the world,where there are significant restrictions or outright bans on GMOs because they’re not considered proven safe.
To fill the information gap,a “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal has been created. Manufacturers earn the seal through compliance with rigorous GMO avoidance standards,including ingredient testing,as part of the nation’s first third party non-GMO verification program. Nearly 900 products have been verified to date,with thousands more in the process of becoming verified and new products joining the program every day. Non-GMO Month celebrations will draw consumer attention to Non-GMO Project products,as well as educate them about the GMO issue.
“The Non-GMO Project stays true to our mission to offer food in its most natural and unadulterated state,” said Michael Besancon,Whole Foods Market senior global vice president of purchasing,distribution and marketing. “We’re committed to offering non-GMO food and products and to educating consumers so they can make informed choices.” Whole Foods Market stores nationwide will be participating in Non-GMO Month,and Whole Foods also is in the process of having its entire 365 private label brand verified to the Non-GMO Project Standard.
Close to 300 independent retailers and co-ops also are participating in Non-GMO Month. “Retailers started the Non-GMO Project because of consumer concern and requests for non-GMO foods,” said Corinne Shindelar,CEO of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA). “We have a responsibility to consumers to ensure the integrity of our food system,and among shoppers who value safe,healthy food,there is a strong desire to avoid GMOs. Non-GMO Month is a fantastic opportunity to give people the information and non-GMO choices they are looking for.”
To learn more about GMO’s visit www.nongmoproject.org.